The Blue Jackets saw their second-round playoff series vs. Boston evened at two games apiece Thursday night in Columbus as Boston earned a 4-1 victory.
Game in a Paragraph
In a wild affair staged in front of a Nationwide Arena-record crowd of 19,431, the Blue Jackets fell victim to an oustanding night by Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 39 saves. Columbus fell into an early 2-0 hole but got one back in the first, but Rask held firm from there and Sean Kuraly's goal midway through the third to make it 3-1 was the backbreaker.
Video: CBJ Recap: Panarin scores in Game 4 loss
Quote of the Game
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella: "The most frustrating part for me is the penalties. I just felt once we got going, then we take another penalty. We kill those back-to-back penalties (in the second period) off, I think we're going to take off from there, but we couldn't score. We didn't score. Had some chances to score and we didn't."
- Artemi Panarin scored his fifth goal of the postseason, tying Matt Duchene for the team lead this postseason and the most in franchise history for one playoff season.
- Boone Jenner had a number of scoring chances, including a handful shorthanded, and finished with six shots on goal.
A wild first period included three goals, a plethora of scoring chances, a penalty shot, hard hits, and a 2-1 Boston lead.
In fact, the Bruins had a two-goal lead in the frame, including a 1-0 lead just 3:33 in. Charlie McAvoy made a perfect diagonal, rink-wide pass to David Pastrnak low on the left, and his one-timer hit Sergei Bobrovsky's leg pad but trickled over the line before David Savard could pull it out of harm's way.
Columbus had a chance to tie the game as Jenner earned a penalty shot with a strong shorthanded move to the net, but Boston goalie Rask denied him with the blocker.
Just 26 seconds later, Boston had a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal. The Jackets got stretched in transition and Brad Marchand found Patrice Bergeron coming down the slot, and his shot beat Bobrovsky between the glove arm and his body at 7:18.
But a goal got the Jackets going at the 8:46 mark, and Columbus took advantage of a lucky break. With the puck in the CBJ offensive zone, it appeared to deflect up and hit the spectator netting before coming back down the ice, and it appears the Bruins thought the play would be whistled dead. But it was not, and Oliver Bjorkstrand alertly picked it up and fed Artemi Panarin for a slam-dunk goal past a defenseless Rask.
Columbus was on fire after the goal, peppering Rask with chances throughout the rest of the period, but the Boston goaltender held strong. Bobrovsky also made his best save of the night to that point on the power play, as Marchand was teed up in the right circle and Bobrovsky slid over and made a fully stretched glove save.
The second period wasn't quite as action-packed as the first but had its moments, including back-to-back scoring chances for the Jackets at the midway point. First, Josh Anderson single-handedly created a chance by storming in, with Brandon Dubinsky firing his rebound just wide. Then Panarin fed Pierre-Luc Dubois on the rush, but his shot hit the post to the left of Rask.
Columbus took back-to-back penalties late in the period giving Boston some good looks, but Bobrovsky stoned Charlie Coyle late in the first power play then stoned Jake DeBrusk early in the second power-play chance.
But the Jackets' hope for a comeback were derailed 8:40 into the third period when Dublin native Kuraly scored. Zdeno Chara blasted a shot from the left point that went wide of the net and caromed back in front off the back boards, and Kuraly was the first man on the rebound and swatted it past Bobrovsky.
Columbus earned a power play with 7:48 to go, but even though the Jackets had the puck in the zone the entire time, Rask couldn't be bested, and Boston finished off the win from there. Bergeron got his second of the night on the power play with 2:30 to go and that was it, as the series is now knotted at two.
By the Numbers
Bobrovsky made 42 saves. ... The previously high-flying Blue Jackets power play went 0-for-4, while Columbus gave up two power-play goals on six Boston chances. … Jenner has a CBJ-high 21 shots on goal in the series. … Bjorkstrand got his first point of the series on the Panarin goal. … Boston has scored first in three of four games in the series and is 2-1 in those games. … Columbus was held without multiple goals for the first time since a loss March 21 at Edmonton. ... The game was the first in the series with a multi-goal margin of victory. ... Only 41:49 was played at even strength. ... Seth Jones played a game-high 30:17 and had a game-high seven shots.
Winger Riley Nash did not play because of injury and is listed as day-to-day by the Blue Jackets. Alexandre Texier entered the lineup in his place.
The Jackets and Bruins return to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. faceoff.